What Size of Garage Spring Do You Need?
Springs are a vital component of a garage door as they are extremely important when it comes to the door’s ability to open and close. Without working springs, you have an inoperable garage door.
Garage springs need to be replaced periodically as they eventually get worn out from everyday use. If you see signs of wear and tear it’s time to replace them as continuing to use your garage door while they are broken will put extra stress and tension on your garage door opener. This may result in a more expensive repair when the opener breaks due to this unnecessary tension.
Garage door springs are not, “one size fits all” and therefore it is important you purchase the right size spring in order to not do any serious damage to your garage door.
Every garage door requires a specific spring with specific specifications depending on the type, height, and weight of their garage door. Springs that are too small or too big can damage your garage door and create a safety hazard that may put you in danger. Having correct springs that fit properly will help you avoid these issues.
When purchasing garage door springs it is important to know the following things about your springs:
- wire size
- inside diameter
- spring wind
- special or standard ends
The vast majority of garage doors use either torsion springs or extensions springs and the first step is finding out which one you need.
Here’s how you tell:
Torsion Springs: These springs store energy by coiling tightly as the garage door shuts. They release that energy when the garage door opens. Torsion springs are extremely heavy-duty. They are attached to a metal rod that runs parallel to the door, directly above the garage door opening. These springs are loaded, or tensioned, with a twisting action. When the door closes, cables attached to the bottom corners of the door pull on pulleys attached to the ends of the metal rod the springs are mounted on. The pulleys turn the rod, which twists the springs and creates tension. When the door is opened, the springs unwind and help lift the door.
Extension Springs: These springs store energy by extending while the door is closing. They release that energy when the garage door is opening. Extension springs are longer, lighter springs that run at 90 degrees to the garage door and are attached right above the horizontal portions of the door tracks. These springs are tensioned by stretching out, using cables and pulleys, as with the torsion system. Because extension springs are merely suspended between two brackets (they are not mounted to a rod, like torsion springs), they must have a safety cable running through each spring to help contain the spring in the event of a breakage. If this breakage occurs it can create a dangerous situation.
Which is better, Torsion or Extension Springs?
Most garage door springs are extension springs as these are usually much cheaper. Although they are more costly, torsion springs are able to support more weight and last twice longer due to their durability.
Now that you know what kind of springs you have, now you need to find out what size you need.
What size Torsion springs do I have?
Torsion springs require a few measurements including the wire diameter, the inside diameter, and the length of the spring. It is also important to note if the spring is a left-hand wind or a right-hand wind.
Torsion Spring Wire Diameter
Wire size is the first bit of information you need to collect. Firstly, measure 20 coils and divide that measurement by 20 and that’s how you get the wire diameter. Be extremely precise with your measurements because if your measurement is even a little off it could have you purchasing the wrong spring. It may also be stamped on there in inches on either the winding cone or stationary cone attached to the spring.
Torsion Spring Inside Diameter
Almost 90% of garage doors in America have a 2-inch inside diameter, but you still need to double-check the inside diameter because not all garage doors do. Simply measure the interior diameter of the spring with a tape measure. You don’t need to take the spring off to take this measurement.
Torsion Spring Length
The length of 20 coils is normally around 5 inches but it is vital that you still measure and get a precise reading because even if you get the number wrong even slightly, you may potentially order the wrong size spring. Remember when you are measuring your torsion spring that the spring must be un-coiled. If the spring is in two parts, unscrew the set screws and connect the spring ends together to get your complete measurement but make sure to not include the cones in the final measurement.
Left or right-hand wing
You can find out whether your spring is a left-hand wind or right-hand wind just by looking at it, no tools necessary. Look down directly at the top of the spring where the coiling starts and if the coil runs clockwise, you have a right-hand wind and if it runs counter-clockwise, it’s left-hand wind.
Special or standard end
Most torsion springs have standard ends that are bent out slightly but a few have special ends which are important to note when purchasing a new spring.
What size Extension spring do I have?
For extension springs, you’ll need to know the length of the spring, the weight that it’s intended to hold and the outside diameter.
It is common that most residential garage doors are either seven or eight feet tall. Seven-foot doors usually use a 25-inch spring, and eight-foot doors use a 27-inch spring. However, because you don’t want to end up with the wrong spring because you are guessing, it is vital you measure the above components.
Extension Spring Length
If you don’t have a loose spring to measure, you can measure the extension spring in use by doing the following. First, make sure your garage door is closed. Unplug your garage door motor unit from the power source, and release the garage door itself by pulling on the brightly-colored release cord hanging down towards the front of the door.
Then, lift your garage door manually and carefully, you may need help. If only one spring is broken, lift from the broken spring side, otherwise, lift from the middle.
Once the door is open, clamp a vice grip inside the track beneath the wheel, just under the bottom of the garage door. This will keep your garage door from closing.
Then, hop up on a ladder and measure the overall and body length of the spring with a tape measure.
You can weigh your garage door with a regular mechanical bathroom scale. Center the scale in front of your closed garage door, making sure the garage door is disconnected from the opener after pulling on the release cord. Then, lift the door slightly and carefully, as it may be heavy, and slide the scale underneath. Let the door down slowly, and record the weight.
The Wire Diameter
We recommend that you measure the wire diameter in two different spots using a micrometer and take the average. This will allow your reading to be more accurate so that you are not purchasing the wrong spring.
Measure the outside diameter
When possible, you should measure the outside diameter in the middle of the spring because the end coils tend to run large.
Remember! If you are opening a garage door with a broken spring use extreme caution to make sure no one gets injured. Always call professionals if you are unsure.
In the case of two garage door springs, we almost always recommend replacing both of them even if only one is broken. This is because these springs are likely rated for the same number of cycles, meaning the next one is probably going to break soon. It is easier to replace both at once and safer to minimize the risk of a broken spring. The only exceptions would be when you know that the other spring is new or rated to last much longer than the broken one.
Your garage door springs are extremely important in the functionality of your garage door. It is vital you get broken or faulty springs replaced as soon as possible to avoid any hefty repair costs, property damage and/or injuries. Fatalities have been a result of poorly installed springs, which is one of many reasons replacing a broken garage door spring should not be a DIY project. Always put your safety first.
Contact us for any questions you may have!